[Humanist] 31.416 physics and self-organization

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Mon Nov 13 08:23:03 CET 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 416.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 10 Nov 2017 05:46:03 -0500
        From: "William L. Benzon" <bbenzon at mindspring.com>
        Subject: Re:  31.415 pubs: teaching; digital dissertations; data; slides; physics
        In-Reply-To: <20171110085135.212A3829D at s16382816.onlinehome-server.info>

Oh, yes, it’s a different physics we face today. And chaos theory and complexity are very important.

Those who are intrigued by the discussion of chaos in Cortada’s post might want to look at a working paper I’ve done: A Primer on Self-Organization: With some tabletop physics you can do at home <https://www.academia.edu/6238739/A_Primer_on_Self-Organization>. Here’s the abstract:

Concepts of self-organization and complexity originating in statistical mechanics have proven useful in many disciplines. This paper gives an informal development of basic concepts of entropy, irreversibility, phase space, and self-organization using a bit of table-top physics anyone can observe. I placed ink droplets into a tumbler of water and photographed the evolution of this system over four hours. Vertical convention cells (self-organization) had appeared by eight (8) minutes but were almost gone by two (2) hours and twenty (20) minutes.


> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2017 07:43:03 +0000
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: importance of physics
> James W. Cortada, author e.g. of The Digital Hand: How Computers Changed 
> the Work of American Manufacturing, Transportation, and Retail 
> Industries (2004) and two subsdquent volumes (2006, 2008), has published 
> a blog, "The importance of physics for humanists and historians" at the 
> OUP site, Academic Insights for the Thinking World, 
> https://blog.oup.com/2017/11/physics-for-humanists-historians/. 
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of
> Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western
> Sydney University and North Carolina State University; Editor,
> Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20)

Bill Benzon
bbenzon at mindspring.com


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